Strengthening Urban REsilience in FOOD and nutrition security in Kenya (SURE-FOOD)

Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), funding period: 1 June 2021 – 31 May 2024 (AfResi-Call)

Short description

Nairobi is among the fastest growing cities in Africa, and will be among the African megacities in the next decades. Kenya is one of the countries in the world where urbanisation is progressing most rapidly. The population, especially women and children, is increasingly affected by hunger, hidden hunger, but also overweight and obesity, known as the triple burden of under- and malnutrition. Households in the informal settlements (or slums) of Nairobi are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition, making it crucially urgent to strengthen the resilience of the poorest of the poor.

The transdisciplinary African-German project team aims at finding sustainable solutions for strengthening knowledge and resilience systems against food insecurity and malnutrition aggravated by rapid urbanization.The goal is to provide adequate, safe, nutrition-dense, preferred and affordable food to improve health and well-being of urban dwellers, with particular focus on the most vulnerable groups.

To do this, robust resilience analysis is needed to provide decision makers, academia, and broader social and policy stakeholders with data and results that enable evidence-based recommendations for action and solutions. Such an analysis can reduce the complexity of the problem and make resilience measurable and controllable. To this end, a longitudinal survey of urban households will be conducted, surveying low- and middle-income households in Nairobi to determine the extent and causes of malnutrition and the dietary habits of urban residents. Existing structures (e.g., informal markets, urban agricultural activities) will be included in this survey, assessed for resilience, and optimized.

Especially (young) women, who are mainly responsible for food production, processing and preparation, should be enabled to expand and pass on knowledge and skills as important multipliers in order to strengthen local resilience structures. With sound community-powered planning and management, cities can become incubators for innovation and growth and drivers of sustainable development, health and well-being. The project will help build more resilient urban areas not only in Africa but also worldwide.